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Remobilization of PCB from Baltic Sea sediment: comparing the roles of bioturbation and physical resuspension
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
2009 (English)In: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, ISSN 0730-7268, E-ISSN 1552-8618, Vol. 28, no 11, 2241-2249 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The release of a 14C-labeled trichlorobiphenyl compound ([14C]PCB 32) from sediment to water was quantified weekly in a 30-d microcosm experiment with recirculating water. Two modes of bioturbation-driven polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) release—bioturbation by the amphipod Monoporeia affinis (a particle biodiffuser) and bioturbation by the polychaete Marenzelleria sp. (a bioirrigator)—were compared to the PCB release caused by physical resuspension of the sediment generated by a motor-driven paddle used twice a week. Bioturbation by the amphipod M. affinis caused a significantly higher remobilization of both particle-associated PCB (PCBpart) and dissolved PCB (PCBdiss) than the other treatments. Bioturbation by Marenzelleria sp. and physical resuspension caused a similar release of PCBdiss despite a significantly higher amount of total suspended solids in the water column after physical resuspension. In all treatments, the release of PCBdiss was more than one order of magnitude higher than that of PCBpart, indicating a significant potential route of exposure for pelagic organisms, such as fish, to the most bioavailable PCB form. Calculated mass-transfer coefficients (0.3–1.3 cm/d) correspond to previously reported values for trichlorinated PCBs. The present results indicate that biological reworking of sediments can be just as, or even more, important than physical resuspension for the remobilization of sediment-bound contaminants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SETAC , 2009. Vol. 28, no 11, 2241-2249 p.
Keyword [en]
* Flux; * Pollutant; * Benthos; * Invasive species; * Mechanical disturbance
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25623DOI: 10.1897/08-576.1ISI: 000270846900001OAI: diva2:200070
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8315Available from: 2008-11-20 Created: 2008-11-14 Last updated: 2010-09-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Fate of contaminants in Baltic Sea sediment ecosystems : the role of bioturbation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fate of contaminants in Baltic Sea sediment ecosystems : the role of bioturbation
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aquatic sediments are of major importance for the cycling of environmental pollutants, acting as both sinks and secondary sources of contaminants to the ecosystem. Sediment-living organisms can affect the fate and transport of contaminants through activities like feeding and burrowing, collectively called bioturbation. Apart from high contaminant levels, the Baltic benthic ecosystem is affected by stressors such as eutrophication-induced anoxic conditions and invading alien species. The main objectives of this thesis were to determine the effects of bioturbation on contaminant fluxes in Baltic Sea sediments and to increase the understanding of how these other stressors act together upon contaminant fate in the benthic ecosystem.

Bioturbation affected contaminants in a species-specific way. The native species Monoporeia affinis and Macoma balthica increased the incorporation of BDE-99 and Cd deposited on the sediment surface, enhancing their retention in the sediment. The invasive polychaete Marenzelleria sp. did not contribute to the incorporation of surface-deposited contaminants, however, significantly increased the release of contaminants back to the water column. Reoxygenation of anoxic laminated sediments and bioturbation by Marenzelleria increased the sediment-to-water flux of dissolved organic contaminants. When the bioturbation-driven release of PCB was compared to the release caused by physical sediment resuspension, results indicated that the continuous activities of benthic infauna can be just as, or even more, important than physical disturbance for the remobilization of sediment-bound contaminants. Bioaccumulation was significantly higher when contaminants were deposited associated to phytoplankton compared to lignin or sediment, suggesting that there are likely seasonal differences in the mobilization of contaminants in the benthic ecosystem.

In summary, bioturbation is an important process influencing contaminant fate in Baltic Sea sediments, and the risk of remobilization of historically buried contaminants may increase with improved benthic redox conditions and the invasion of new deeper-digging species, such as Marenzelleria.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Systemekologiska institutionen, 2008. 37 p.
Toxicology, Toxikologi
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Marine Ecotoxicology
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8315 (URN)978-91-7155-775-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-12-12, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 14-18, Stockholm, 09:00
Available from: 2008-11-20 Created: 2008-11-14 Last updated: 2012-05-25Bibliographically approved

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Gunnarsson, Jonas S
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